Dr Prayag Narayan Misra: Sri Krishna Janmashtami celebrated with pomp and joy!
Janmashtami was celebrated with grandeur and pomp at the ISKCON (Hare Krishna) temple August 13-16, 2009 in Phoenix , AZ. With four days of colorful festivities underway, devotees were on cloud nine!
The Janmashtmi celebrations kicked off on Thursday, August 13th, with a fancy dress competition, sermons and devotional songs. The fancy dress competition drew several local participants ranging from ages 3 months old to 11 years old. Many of the small boys chose to dress as Krishna and the girls chose to Radha or mother Yashoda. Little surprise that the winner of the fancy dress competition was a 11 year old girl who dressed as mother Yashoda. 3 month old babies can’t give much competition, can they? ;)
Several high profile honorable guests attended. Victor Daniels, Policy Advisor, Urban & Military Affairs, Office of the Governor of Arizona read the proclamation. Mayor of Gilbert John Lewis accompanied by Lady Lacinda, Cynthia Felton, Chair, Board of Trustees Unity in Divine Love Church emceed the event. Commander Joe Brugman, Police Department, City of Chandler enjoyed every moment, especially the blessed food. The cultural program was in full swing with several local participants showcasing their talent for Krishna songs and dances. Not to mention, there were several toddlers dressed as younger Krishnas and younger Radhas.
Highlights of the cultural program was a dance named Madhurashtakam- which describes ten incarnations of Krishna - performed by world class artist Sriji Rasalila who hails from Bulgaria and perfected it during her seven years of schooling in New Delhi. Dramas depicting pastimes of Krishna were performed by Youth group and kids from Sunday School of BhaktiVedanta Cultural Center.
The Hindu Temple of Arizona in Scottsdale also celebrated Janmashtmi on Friday, August 14. Sponsor families gathered to perform religious rites and chant mantras. Prasad was served to all the devotees. The cultural program included performers who came from as far as Tucson, Flagstaff and Sedona. At midnight, all the temples held beautiful prayer worship with all devotees singing hymns and dancing.
Arizona has it’s fair share of devotees and celebrations for Janmashtmi with all the grandeur. This year showcased celebrations that extended throughout the weekend thereby giving devotees and visitors more time to rejoice, contemplate & celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna! For next year’s celebration, it is recommended that there should be two lines for participation in bathing ceremony, called Abhishekam in order to avoid long lines. As regards “Kalash” and havan, participants were dressed eloquently wearing holy shawls and obtained blessings from the priests.
The event was well advertised in East Valley Tribune which has a circulation of 100,000 and was covered in online edition of Arizona Republic in Saturday Edition with more than a million hits.
By Dr Prayag Narayan Misra
Director, Communications, ISKCON Phoenix.
BhaktiVedanta Cultural Center,
100 South Weber Dr
Chandler, AZ 85226-3216